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Finland's Neste inaugurates €100 mln biodiesel plant

Neste Oil Corp. on Thursday inaugurated a second-generation biodiesel plant that will begin to supply customers with environment-friendly fuel in a few months.

The Finnish company said the €100 million ($135 million) plant is the first of its kind, and will be capable of annually producing 170,000 tons of diesel from vegetable oil and animal fat. Developing new technologies is an oil refiner's only way to address these issues successfully, Neste Oil's CEO Risto Rinne said at the opening celebrations. Neste Oil has invested €800 million ($1 billion) in new production units at its refinery in Porvoo, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of the capital, Helsinki. The total annual output of the renewed Porvoo refinery is about 1 million tons of sulfur-free diesel.

In March, Neste and paper maker Stora Enso Oyj announced plans to develop technology for producing fuel from wood residues, in a move to cut greenhouse gases. The companies said they will build a €14 million ($18.5 million) demonstration plant at Stora Enso's Varkaus Mill in eastern Finland. It is expected to start up in 2008. Neste Oil is a refining and marketing company focusing on advanced, clean-traffic fuels with net sales of €12.7 billion in 2006. It has 4,700 employees, mostly in Finland, but also has operations in Russia, the Baltic states and Poland. (